Category Archives: Concomitance

Larry Summers; The Foundations for Macroeconomics

Larry Summers is the esteemed former Vice President of Development Economics and Chief Economist of the World Bank, (1991–93), senior U.S. Treasury Department official, ultimately Treasury Secretary (1999–2001), former director of the National Economic Council for President Obama (2009–2010) and former president of Harvard University (2001–2006).

Larry’s Blog of 9/13/2018  asked questions and gave suggestions regarding establishing new foundations for macroeconomics.

As we did in our blog of 9/11/2018 regarding Ray Dalio, let us say in the beginning what we say near the end:

Finally, Larry states that “the arguments that Gennaioli and Shliefer make need to be debated in the profession.” Let us suggest that, before Larry calls for debates among macroeconomists about the obvious inadequacy of present foundations, the entire macroeconomics profession must study carefully Bernard Lonergan’s Macroeconomic Dynamics.  That book has already brought insights from mathematics, physics, and scientific method to the discovery of a radically new foundation. Also, let us advise them how not to react in their reading.  Initially they will find Lonergan’s Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics radically different from the static Walrasian structures they have long espoused and depended upon; they might be inclined gradually to rationalize against its method and tenets; then, instead of embracing it, they might seek arguments to defend themselves against it; finally, having mistakenly persuaded themselves that it is a waste of their precious time, they might put it aside. However, if they courageously and carefully power through Lonergan’s dynamics 3-5 times, they will find themselves saying, “Whoa!  Bernard Lonergan operated from a more profound point of view and discovered a deeper unity in macroeconomics.  With his understanding of what constitutes science and explanation and with his employment of the technique of implicit definition, this polymath has successfully applied his expertise in math, physics, and scientific method to discover a new field theory of macroeconomics, a new paradigm, a whole new theoretical combination of foundation and superstructure which explains both the normative equilibria and maladaptive disequilibria of the intrinsically cyclical, dynamic economic process. This is something of a Copernican Revolution.” Then, rather than calling for debates, let Larry call for elucidation, elaboration and implementation of Functional Macroeconomic Dynamics at the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the Federal Reserve Board, textbook publishers, colleges, and universities. Continue reading

Textbook Flaws and Deficiencies

The popular textbooks of Macroeconomics – by N Gregory Mankiw, Paul Krugman and Robin Wells, Olivier Blanchard, Andrew B. Abel and Ben S. Bernanke, William J. Baumol and Alan S. Blinder – suffer in common from several flaws.  Our subheadings immediately below and the pointers thereafter point out flaws and deficiencies in textbooks commonly used in higher education. Though the treatments in this section are not exhaustive, they are sufficiently provocative; they should stimulate careful scrutiny of, and skepticism regarding, many traditional and conventional tenets.  Finally, though the treatments in this section are relatively brief and often primarily referential, there is a lot of ground to cover; so, we will underline and publish as time allows.

  1. This Introduction
  2. The nature of the current, purely dynamic economic process
  3. Scientific macroeconomics explains rather than merely describes
  4. A theory of macroeconomics must be independent of human psychology and anthropology
  5. The author of a textbook must employ a scientific and dynamic heuristic
  6. Real Analysis (read more)

Why Analyze the Rhythmic Pattern of the Productive Process First?

Why did Lonergan analyze the structure and rhythm of the productive process before he analyzed the monetary aspects of exchange and the inner contradictions of the manipulation of interest rates?

Quick answer: Money is to buy goods and services.  Payments of money are congruent with the network of the production and provision of goods and services.  The production of goods and services is prior in the order of understanding to the correlated payments for goods and services. Therefore, the structure of the current, purely dynamic, productive process – as to factoral makeup, functional interdependencies, flow quantities, and timing – sets the pattern for the pattern of payments.  It is conceptually prior to, and really determinate of, the normative flowings of money.

real analysis (is) identifying money with what money buys. … And that is the source of the problem in real analysis.  If you want to treat money that doesn’t make a difference, you can have a beautiful liberal monetary theory.  But it doesn’t say the way the thing works. [CWL 21, xxviii] (continue reading)